Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homemade Haunting

I think one of my issues with books is that I want to read great writing with a great story, but I want it to count for something in my life.
As in, bring some kind of realization or encouragement or...
I think I struggle spending time on something (With something?) that may tickle my imagination's hunger but doesn't leave any healthy deposit in my heart when it's finished.
And having a degree in Writing and Literature means I've read far too many books where I waited for something wonderful, and then realized something depressing and negative had taken root instead.

(Am I nuts? I don't think so.
No, I'm not nuts.
You totally know what I'm talking about, here.)

I want more from books that I read... which is probably why I'm so selective on what literature I let consume parts of my days... 
and why I'll flip between fiction and non-fiction. 
Fiction for the story, non-fiction for the deposit.

Then something comes along that is both.

When I began reading Homemade Haunting, Rob Stennett's third novel, I have to say I was a bit wary.
I was excited, because I love Stennett's writing style... but the same question lingered, "There are so many things I should be giving my time and attention to... is this worth either?"
(Besides, I'm kind of a weak-knees horror reader.
Anything supernatural has a tendency to mess with me. I'm just sayin'.)

The way Stennett crafts his stories is exactly the way our brains flow.
Thoughts interrupting thoughts.
Explanations and interpretations breaking through the main event.
So, reading Homemade Haunting is like reading your thoughts dictated onto the pages in front of you, making it easy to enter into the life of the characters... and dangerously difficult to put the book down.
And Stennett's hits-you-before-you-know-it humor woven throughout makes the horror aspect of the book completely digestible for people like me.
(Thanks, Rob.)

The glorious thing about a Stennett novel is the main characters are so... so Everyman.
It could be you. 
It could be me.
And the story develops as they give way to their flaws... our flaws.
In Homemade Haunting, I watched as the main character, Charlie, so easily opens his family up to the influence of what every rational human being fears most: evil.
I was upended at every literary turn thinking, "Oh, how could he? That could never be me. I would never..."

But, the reality is, we all make our own choices... that seem mostly okay at the time.
We all open ourselves to something(s) in order to better ourselves... our career... our families.
The issue is, what are we opening ourselves up to?
Or, what is it that we think we're opening ourselves up to?
And what horrors lurk behind our false belief that we're in control?
Stennett weaves his words in such an unassuming way that you don't even realize this book in so many aspects could be about you until you're almost done with it.

The deposit of self-examination, hidden between the pages of a great story.
So worth my time.

Bottom line: I'm hooked.
I loved it and I'm hooked.
You will be, too.
I read my first Stennett novel a few months ago, The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher: A Novel, and I knew I had potentially found an author worth my time.
But, I'm not normally a love-at-first-site-girl... unless it's shoes.
I would definitely classify myself as a like-at-first-site girl, but you've got to prove yourself for anything more.

Stennett has done exactly that.

His second book (remember, Homemade Haunting is his third), The End Is Now, has sat awaiting my attention since I unwrapped it Christmas morning.
I think I'll go pick it up right... about...

You can get your own copy of Homemade Haunting here, along with Stennett's other novels.
You can delve more into the mind of the author here.

**I was not compensated in any way for posting this... unless you count getting a book as compensation. Then, in that case, I was. But, it's awfully hard to read and review a book without having the book.**

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